Elethu: A Stellar Achievement

Thursday, 8 April, 2021
Wines of South Africa, Julia Moore
To the average tourist, Bonnievale is a quaint village true to its name where picturesque farm cottages are surrounded by orchards and vineyards, bordered by beautiful, towering mountains.

But look beyond this peaceful pastoral scene, and you will note the spirit of transformation burning brightly, and people hard at work creating opportunities for advancement and progress, the Elethu wine farm being a prime example.

Bonnievale Wines is the largest wine producer in the area. 90 members supply their grapes to one of four cellars where a wide selection of wines are made. Elethu (meaning ‘ours’ in Xhosa) was established by Bonnievale Wines (BW) in 2007 as a Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) initiative.

The Bonnievale Workers Empowerment Trust (BWET) owns this 60ha farm, which is on land donated by the local municipality. Initially it was run by the BWET together with a mentor farmer, but in May 2020, the 39 member trust took full control of operations, a milestone not only for the BWET itself, but as one of the first full-circle BBBEE projects in the SA wine industry. Elethu is a black-owned farm; with black-owned and managed vineyards; black-managed winemaking and the promise of a black-owned wine label to be released within the next year.

The BWET trustees are made up of 4 farm workers on the Elethu farm, and another 35 people who work in the cellars of Bonnievale Wines. These employees all receive on-going training in aspects from management to viticulture.

The farm functions as a fully-fledged supplier member of Bonnievale Wines, receiving payment for grapes delivered to their cellars.

Read the full #wineforgood article HERE